Saturday, May 22, 2010

Going the Distance

An unexpected and ironic side-effect of finishing a project like this is the overwhelming sense of having failed. You feel like you're driving a Rose Parade float at the Indy 500. Somebody else won the thing weeks ago, the stands are empty, and the reasons to pull over start to outnumber the reasons to keep going. There's only one lap remaining, but there won't be any victory milk waiting for you at the finish line.

You go into something like this with expectations. You think your actions will bear fruit. You fantasize about your debut at San Diego Comic-Con, and how your heroes will invite you into their club. You've seen too many montages -- you think the world will pay you back for your effort, with interest.

Then San Diego flies by, and you're not ready. That iron has gone cold and you never struck it.

The thing is, this isn't your moment of failure. This is actually the most important chapter of  the whole odyssey. This is where you discover that work can be its own reward, and that you've got some hidden tenacity in you. This is where you become a grown-up.

In the end, you're going to have a comic book. Does it seem like a small thing, compared to the time you put into it? Ask yourself what you have to show for the 34 years that went before this one. Your list of accomplishments just went from zero to one. You improved more as an artist over this last year than over the whole decade that preceded it. You got 2500 hours closer to that 10,000 hour grail. And maybe best of all, you made some new friends.

Besides, you'll do better on the next issue.

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A side-note: The Livestream client blue-screened my machine twice. I'll have to put that idea aside until I've got a computer that can handle it. It was fun while it lasted, though. For anyone who missed it, I look like Keanu Reeves.